Suzuki will lose their status as one of MotoGP’s concession teams for 2019 – but at a fair cost, after both Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins got involved in the podium battle at Sunday’s Aragon Grand Prix. Coming out fighting and both taking their turn at getting involved in Marquez and Dovizioso’s scrap, it was eventually Iannone who squeezed his teammate back to fourth.
Showing stronger pace than he has for most of 2018 to return to the podium for the first time since Jerez in May, Iannone admitted after the race that while they might have had a strong time in Aragon, they’re still far from a title contender.
“The reality is that we worked well in the weekend but in this moment Honda and Ducati still have better performance than us. We struggle a lot when we pick up the bike out of the corner, the wheels spin a lot, and when you’re not accelerating well it’s hard to recover it all in the braking area. Top speed is important too, and we lost a lot on the straights which makes fighting with the two best riders in the world.
“But I think we have a really good chassis, and we have incredible grip when the bike is leaned over. We can enter fast corners and long corners with a lot of speed, and we gain a lot there. But that can be a negative point at other tracks, because you use the edge of the tyres a lot.”
This year’s rapid improvements might not be made any easier next year by the loss of concession status, though. Adamant that it’s something that they’ve been aiming for, it will nonetheless make life harder as they lose testing time, wildcard opportunities and, most importantly, the ability to bring mid-season engine updates.